ryanheise (2007-04-23 07:26:44 +0000)
I am trying to find out the answer to this question: Does the WCA sometimes allow sponsors of a competition to place additional restrictions on the allowed cubes, that are not already mentioned in Article 3?
For example, suppose I have some-random-brand of 3x3x3 cube that meets all of the requirements in Article 3, it is not transparent, it does not have any weird modifications, etc. Is it technically possible that I might rock up to a competition and find out that I cannot use my cube because the WCA allowed the sponsor to place the additional requirement that we must use only brands that they want us to use?
I have been very disappointed with the indirect answers I've received from WCA officials so far, e.g. answering my question with another question, or saying "the answer is obvious" without saying what the answer actually is:
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/spe ... sage/34610
StefanPochmann (2007-04-23 08:04:24 +0000)
The answer is obvious once you've read the answer to the second question here:
The same requirement existed for Euro2004, Euro2006 and WC2005 (don't know about WC2003), so I guess when someone said the answer to your question is obvious, he thought these already existing examples were well-known.
Though that still doesn't answer the [url=http://www.worldcubeassociation.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=299:228x7g5e]question about sticker brands[/url:228x7g5e].
StefanPochmann (2007-04-23 08:08:18 +0000)
But to directly explicitly answer the question: Yes (though I'm not a WCA member and just deduced it).
ryanheise (2007-04-23 14:03:59 +0000)
Ok, thanks for clearing that up Stefan. I agree it is not likely that a competitor will rock up to a competition without reading that. I have only ever read the WCA rules and regulations (on this website). I've never been to a competition and know nothing about competition specific things, except from what is written in the WCA regulations document. I will now try to limit my questions to that document.
I can see that Article 8 mentions competition specific things that are allowed. For example, it says that time limits may be changed and set by each competition, but it doesn't say that the allowed cubes can be changed from what is stated in Article 3. So how can these competitions that do this actually be considered as WCA recognised competitions? Is there a clause in the regulations that allows a competition to change Article 3?
StefanPochmann (2007-04-23 19:07:38 +0000)
To be precise, Article 3 is only a bunch of restrictions, nowhere does it say "If your puzzle meets these criteria, it is allowed", only that if it doesn't, it isn't. And further restrictions aren't forbidden, so they're not really a violation of the regulations.
ryanheise (2007-04-24 08:40:56 +0000)
It still seems very fuzzy to me. I'm not clear about the process of extending the rules on this website with additional rules per competition.
On the WC2007 website, where are their rules published? As far as I can see, there is no rules document for the WC2007. There is something in the FAQ, but surely the FAQ should refer to some existing rule, but the rule doesn't exist to begin with, or so it seems to me.
On top of all of this, it just seems outrageous that a competition is allowed by the WCA to require that competitors only use cubes that are manufactured by the sponsor (or by those who have purchased licenses from the sponsor).
Why can't, or won't, the WCA regulate this outrageous act?
Ron (2007-04-24 12:01:48 +0000)
The view of WCA is that all brands of puzzles should be allowed in WCA competitions. Unless the puzzles violate the WCA regulations of course.
WCA does not have an active role in finding illegal puzzles (illegal copies, trademark violation et cetera). Still if some person or organisation points out with proof that a specific puzzle is illegal, then WCA will not allow that specific puzzle type in WCA competitions anymore. (In that case we have to change the WCA regulations.)
For some competitions we need large sponsors that have special requirements about puzzle brands. WCA does not like this, and if possible will protect the right to use all puzzle brands. Still I personally think that in a cola drinking competition sponsored by Coca Cola, it is reasonable that competitors can only drink Coca Cola, no Pepsi or Dr Pepper.
In the case of Rubik's brand there is also a legality issue. WCA does not want to harm the legal case of rights owners, even though WCA is not an expert on legal issues and some legal stuff can be explained in different ways, can even be different in different countries. In that case I personally think it is better to have a clear announcement of which puzzle brands are allowed for that competition.
1) There is no WCA regulation that says that all puzzle brands are allowed.
2) There is also no WCA regulation that says that for some competitions only specific brands are allowed.
Although this situation may be a bit unclear, I explicitly chose this because we do not want to create a precedent. In case of 1) we may have problems finding sponsors for big competitions. In case of 2) we explicitly give the right to any competition organiser to limit the allowed brands.
So basically the decision for only allowing specific brands for a competition is made by the WCA board, because the board decides about the officialness of a competition.
ryanheise (2007-04-24 13:46:58 +0000)
[quote="Ron":3hsqhx9e]For some competitions we need large sponsors that have special requirements about puzzle brands. WCA does not like this, and if possible will protect the right to use all puzzle brands.[/quote:3hsqhx9e]
Let me prefix this with "I am not a lawyer".
Hi Ron, I am not aware of any clone, produced after the patent expired, that has been found illegal in court.
Besides the patent, what is left is the trade mark (the actual term "Rubik's Cube") and the design mark (an image of a black cube with red, orange, blue, green, yellow, white stickers, 9 on each side). To avoid being sued for infringing on this appearance, the clones generally use different colours.
Maybe it was a bad idea to rule out cubes that are made with see-through plastic rather than solid black, because this could be one of the designs that clones can feel free to use without infringing on the above design mark. Similarly for other puzzle "modifications", such as changing the form of the puzzle so that you can see more faces of the puzzle. These things might be also free from the design mark.
Most of all, we are interested in not so much the design aspect (the colours used, and the proportions of the stickers, etc.) which is what is covered by the design mark, but rather we are interested in the way the object "functions", as a puzzle, and this is what was covered by the patent. That patent has now expired. Actually, we are not even interested so much in their particular internal mechanism, as we are in the mathematical group that the cube represents. Any internal mechanism that achieves this would be good for our purposes.
Setting aside all of these legalities, if you decide to protect our rights to use different branded cubes at all competitions equally, and then if this very important sponsor pulls sponsorship simply because you are trying to do what you think is right, then this is exactly the kind of story that can generate a lot of media coverage, all in support of the independent WCA organisation, and all against the big money corporation. Surely, that sponsor doesn't want that to happen, you don't want this to happen, I don't want this to happen, so if they really thought about the consequences they will not pull sponsorship if you do this. But if they do, you know how easy it will be to spread this news to all of the media channels. With all of the attention, you might get a new sponsor.
Whatever the consequences, it is still important to do the right thing.
Ron (2007-04-24 13:59:17 +0000)
Your legal stuff sounds like there are no rights at all anymore on Rubik name or Rubik puzzles. I don't think that is correct, but I have no proof or whatever for that.
[quote:27xx563i]Setting aside all of these legalities, if you decide to protect our rights to use different branded cubes at all competitions equally, and then if this very important sponsor pulls sponsorship simply because you are trying to do what you think is right, then this is exactly the kind of story that can generate a lot of media coverage, all in support of the independent WCA organisation, and all against the big money corporation.[/quote:27xx563i]
That is exactly what I do not want. Our sponsors are our friends. We need them and they need us. And even if we did not need them, then still they are our friends.
Like I said earlier, I do not like the situation. Still with an announcement this early, I think it is a minor issue compared to the fun we are going to have in Budapest. You should come too. It is going to be a great reunion and competition.
ryanheise (2007-04-24 14:50:24 +0000)
Your legal stuff sounds like there are no rights at all anymore on Rubik name or Rubik puzzles. I don't think that is correct, but I have no proof or whatever for that.
No, that is not what I said. They have rights to the "Rubik's Cube" trademark, and they have rights to the design mark. But they don't have the patent anymore.
[quote:2yqna8bl]Setting aside all of these legalities, if you decide to protect our rights to use different branded cubes at all competitions equally, and then if this very important sponsor pulls sponsorship simply because you are trying to do what you think is right, then this is exactly the kind of story that can generate a lot of media coverage, all in support of the independent WCA organisation, and all against the big money corporation.[/quote:2yqna8bl]
That is exactly what I do not want. Our sponsors are our friends.
Sure, that's what I said, too. But just because you're friends, does not mean you can't have disagreements with them. It sounds like you do not like the situation - i.e. you have a disagreement - but it seems like you are afraid to stand up for your own point of view by telling them firmly that you will not allow them to unfairly block competing brands.
Like I said earlier, I do not like the situation. Still with an announcement this early, I think it is a minor issue compared to the fun we are going to have in Budapest.
Then this is the problem, you think it is a minor issue. I would be willing to boycott the event because of this issue, because I want to protest against monopolistic practices and fight for freedom. Unfortunately, some people don't care enough about this and are content if they seem to be enjoying their own life and everything else is well.
You should come too. It is going to be a great reunion and competition.
It is too far away, but also, I'm boycotting it because of unfair monopolistic practices. Let me know when all brands are allowed at the WC.
Ron (2007-04-24 15:58:59 +0000)
[quote:1db2iqy2]They have rights to the "Rubik's Cube" trademark, and they have rights to the design mark. But they don't have the patent anymore.[/quote:1db2iqy2]
I know that nowadays still many cubes are destroyed because of them being illegal. It could be because of the rights you mention.
[quote:1db2iqy2]but it seems like you are afraid to stand up for your own point of view by telling them firmly that you will not allow them to unfairly block competing brands. [/quote:1db2iqy2]
You don't know me obviously.
[quote:1db2iqy2]Unfortunately, some people don't care enough about this and are content if they seem to be enjoying their own life and everything else is well.[/quote:1db2iqy2]
"Seem to be" sounds like an insult.
[quote:1db2iqy2]I'm boycotting it because of unfair monopolistic practices. Let me know when all brands are allowed at the WC.[/quote:1db2iqy2]
I respect your choice. It is a pity though.
There are many other competitions to go to. I also think in 2008 we will accept all puzzle brands in all competitions.
ryanheise (2007-04-24 16:32:09 +0000)
Ron, you represent what I'd like to think of as a "professional" organisation, and so if I question your commitment on a certain issue, and say that it seems you are not caring enough, this is exactly the sort of comment you should come to expect from the general public since you are in the public eye and all of your actions as part of the WCA will be questioned.
I tried to tell you what things seem like to me. If things are not in fact this way, you could do much better than to just tell me your feelings, e.g. how you feel insulted. As a professional, you can tell me what actually is the case.
It seems to me that either
1) You care seriously about the issue I am raising, but are too afraid of the consequences of telling this sponsor that you will not allow such an unfair restriction.
-- or --
2) You think it's only a minor issue, so fear is not relevant.
Up until now, you haven't given me any confidence that you will stop the sponsors from doing this unfair practice.
But that is, until now... you mentioned that in 2008 things may change. Why is this? What has happened? Are you finally telling the sponsors that they can't do this anymore? Or did they decide to change by themselves? Or did they pull their sponsorship? I'd hope the answer is the first one, because that would mean the WCA actually is doing its job to make competitions fair.
Ron (2007-04-24 18:47:58 +0000)
I answered your question.
Change sometimes takes time.
ryanheise (2007-04-25 01:10:46 +0000)
Hey Ron, you left a lot of unanswered questions. I asked 4 explicit questions, and one implicit question. I can't see answers to ANY of them.
The implicit question was, when I said "it seems like ...", if things are not what they seem to me, then what are they instead?
Try not to take this question personally as you did before. When I say "you", I am talking to a representative of the WCA, in fact I am talking to the WCA.
Now, about my "seems" question? It seems like possibly you don't think this is a serious enough issue to do anything about because you said:
"I think it is a minor issue compared to the fun we are going to have in Budapest"
This does not give me a lot of confidence.
If in fact it is the other way, and you actually do care about this issue a lot, then why haven't you put your foot down earlier? You could have said firmly "these are our rules" to the sponsors, and let them follow your rules. The fact that you haven't done this yet sounds like you must be afraid of something.
That is why it "seems" that - either you care about the issue a lot, but have been afraid to fix it so far, OR you don't care about it enough and so fear is not a factor.
Please tell me, what is the actual truth? I need to have confidence in the WCA, and if you don't answer my questions, all I can do is play the game of "it seems that...".
Also don't forget I will be reporting the conclusion of this back to the main Yahoo! group. I would like to have good things to say. I don't want to have to say that the WCA has been continuing to act unprofessionally and is not answering my questions, the same problem that occurred when I asked you at the Yahoo! group in the first place.
Ron (2007-04-25 04:15:30 +0000)
I feel like it is not my duty to give you a lot of confidence.
I also feel like you don't need to know everything.
Bottomline is that for WC 2007 only Rubik's brands are allowed, and that we are working for future competitions that this will not happen anymore.
ryanheise (2007-04-25 04:43:45 +0000)
Why don't you just answer questions openly from the beginning? Confidence is a very important thing.
From the beginning (4 weeks ago), you have avoided directly answering my question, and this comes across as sneaky.
Now, in this forum, I ask what you're doing to fix the situation, and did you give me confidence straight away? No. You said, this is a minor problem compared to all the fun you will have at the competition. Do you think that's an answer that inspires a lot of confidence?
I had to push you a lot for an answer. First you said that in 2008 maybe the problem will go away. Still, this does not tell me whether the WCA are actively doing anything to solve the problem. It could be that the sponsors decided on their own to not impose this restriction anymore.
That was not a satisfactory answer for me.
Finally, you say that you (the WCA) are working towards a solution to the problem for 2008. Okay... now I finally know the answer to the question.
Why oh why can't you just be upfront about these things from the start, instead of making me ask and ask again?
4 WEEKS IS HOW LONG IT TOOK!!!!
ryanheise (2007-04-25 05:20:33 +0000)
Ron, another reason to be open is to prevent me from potentially causing damage to your plan (if you do in fact have one - I am not inclined to believe it) by being misinformed.
- Note that I am still against the WCA for not doing anything until now to fix the problem. It could have been fixed earlier, but the WCA has chosen not to do anything.
- I am also against the WC2007 and I am the kind of person who will want to raise everybody's awareness of the problem. I certainly feel like making a big hoo haa about WC2007 and encourage people to boycott it because Eastsheen and similar brands are not allowed.
Please give me a reason why I should not do this.
Ron (2007-04-25 05:44:30 +0000)
Your basic question was answered immediately. And the answer was not new, it could be found in the WCA regulations and the information of several competitions.
You also got an answer to some of your background questions. Not all, because I think for several reasons (including tactical) that not all WCA information must be made public.
There is no conspiracy.
I cannot help that you do not believe me. That is a personal thing.
I do feel personally attacked by you though.
[quote:8357urj6]Please give me a reason why I should not do this.[/quote:8357urj6]
It is a free world, so go ahead.
Like I said, change sometimes takes time.
ryanheise (2007-04-25 05:59:06 +0000)
ryanheise (2007-04-25 07:46:37 +0000)
[quote="Ron":1n85jdlg]I do feel personally attacked by you though.[/quote:1n85jdlg]
I am only questioning your actions. Yes, that might hurt you... But can't I do this? Reading my questions above, I still think I have a right to ask you. I mean, I need to be clear about your (the WCA's) position.
When you allow a sponsor to block out competing brands of cubes, you are also hurting those competing brands. But when I questioned your position, you hadn't told me yet that you were in the process of changing things, and so I can't be blamed for questioning it... Can I? In my opinion, more people should be doing this to keep things in check and balance.
Bottom line: I'm a nobody, I can ask whatever questions I like. [i:1n85jdlg]You[/i:1n85jdlg], on the other hand represent an organisation who is setting rules that affect many people, and you may need to deal better with people such as myself who question your actions at the WCA, or question anything about the WCA. My advice is to give [b:1n85jdlg]direct answers[/b:1n85jdlg] every time, or even say [b:1n85jdlg]no comment[/b:1n85jdlg] if that is the most direct response that you can give. Maybe you think it is right to give indirect answers, such as "the answer is obvious", or "do you think I like this situation?", or even not give answers for 3 weeks until the question is asked again (like mentioned in the post above), but this only causes frustration for the people you are not answering. This will only cause more questions to be asked.